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Way back when Lionsgate was planning its slate for the roll out of The Divergent Series, they thought that following the current pattern of breaking their finale into two parts was a good idea. Tonight though, it seems that idea has bitten them where they sit, as director Robert Schwentke has officially dropped out of the director's chair for The Divergent Series: Ascendant.
The item was broken by Deadline, who added that while the director of both last year's Insurgent and this year's Allegiant entries into the Divergent series has left the building, it's not on bad terms. The official company line is that Schwentke "just needed a break" after helming two entries back to back. Which, naturally, has us thinking about whether this report is as truthful as it says it is.
Granted, directing one film is a handful, and directing two in a row for a yearly franchise such as The Divergent Series must be a grueling slog. However, this surely must have crossed the mind of Robert Schwentke when he signed on for the duration of the series that Divergent director Neil Burger had departed. Three films, one right after the other, doesn't even sound easy; and if the series was really that taxing to film, one would think that The Divergent Series: Insurgent would have been the logical dropping off point.
As much as we may speculate and wonder if the sudden split between Robert Schwentke and The Divergent Series: Ascendant was less amiable than the news would lead us to believe, part of that mindset comes from the fact that we haven't really seen a director up and leave in the middle of a two part installment before. We saw David Yates finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after two films before it, and we saw Francis Lawrence take The Hunger Games to the end zone through Catching Fire and the two subsequent films that followed. Yet something involved in the production of Allegiant really took it out of Schwentke, and now Lionsgate needs to find a director that can keep the film in the pipeline to meet its June 2017 release date.
While film-making is admittedly a tough business, it's even tougher when surprises such as this happen to drop. With Lionsgate already starting to suffer after Star Wars: The Force Awakens allegedly soured part of their box office returns for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, any sort of jeopardy towards the condition of their current YA franchise will obviously turn into a source of major stress. At the very least, the rush to find a replacement for The Divergent Series: Ascendant's director's chair is going to be interesting, and as soon as we hear any further information on who's game for the finale, you'll be the first to know.
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is set to hit theaters on March 18th.